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Nuclear Power Essay

2254 words - 10 pages

Nuclear PowerOn the position of Nuclear Power, I feel that I am for the argument. It is a good source of energy that we must continue using. In this document I will convince you too, that Nuclear Power is good.Nuclear power plants provide about 20 percent of the world's electricity. Some countries depend more on nuclear power for electricity than others. In France, for instance, about 75 percent of the electricity is generated from nuclear power, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency. In the United States, nuclear power supplies about 15 percent of the electricity overall, but some states get more power from nuclear plants than others. There are more than 400 nuclear power ...view middle of the document...

To build a nuclear reactor, what you need is some mildly enriched uranium. Typically, the uranium is formed into pellets with approximately the same diameter as a dime and a length of an inch or so. The pellets are arranged into long rods, and the rods are collected together into bundles. The bundles are then typically submerged in water inside a pressure vessel. The water acts as a coolant. In order for the reactor to work, the bundle, submerged in water, must be slightly supercritical. That means that, left to its own devices, the uranium would eventually overheat and melt.To prevent this, control rods made of a material that absorbs neutrons are inserted into the bundle using a mechanism that can raise or lower the control rods. Raising and lowering the control rods allow operators to control the rate of the nuclear reaction. When an operator wants the uranium core to produce more heat, the rods are raised out of the uranium bundle. To create less heat, the rods are lowered into the uranium bundle. The rods can also be lowered completely into the uranium bundle to shut the reactor down in the case of an accident or to change the fuel.The reactor's pressure vessel is typically housed inside a concrete liner that acts as a radiation shield. That liner is housed within a much larger steel containment vessel. This vessel contains the reactor core as well the hardware (cranes, etc.) that allows workers at the plant to refuel and maintain the reactor. The steel containment vessel is intended to prevent leakage of any radioactive gases or fluids from the plant.Finally, the containment vessel is protected by an outer concrete building that is strong enough to survive such things as crashing jet airliners. These secondary containment structures are necessary to prevent the escape of radiation/radioactive steam in the event of an accident like the one at Three Mile Island. The absence of secondary containment structures in Russian nuclear power plants allowed radioactive material to escape in an accident at Chernobyl.FOR1. Little PollutionAs demand for electricity soars, the pollution produced from fossil fuel-burning plants is heading towards dangerous levels. Coal, gas and oil burning power plants are already responsible for half of America's air pollution. Burning coal produces carbon dioxide, which depletes the protection of the ozone. The soft coal, which many power plants burn, contains sulfur When the gaseous byproducts are absorbed in clouds, precipitation becomes sulfuric acid.. Coal also contains radioactive material. A coal-fired power plant emits more radiation into the air than a nuclear power plant.The world's reserves of fossil fuels are running out. The sulfurous coal which many plants use is more polluting than the coal that was previously used. Most of the anthracite, which plants also burn, has been used up. As more soft coal is used, the amount of pollution will increase. According to estimates, fossil fuels will be burned up within...

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